2015 Drought Response Plan

 Bidwell Park Logo Final

Drought Response Plan


Section 1     Declaration of Policy and Purpose.

Section 2    Scope.

Section 3     Outreach and Education..

Section 4    Initiation of Drought Stages. 5

Section 5    Stages of Drought  & Measures. 5-7

Section 6    Monitoring and Reporting..


Section 1   Declaration of Policy and Purpose

Bidwell Park Golf Course provides an exceptional public golf experience at a fair price. Bidwell Park Golf Course also strives to manage its facility through continually evaluating and improving sustainable practices. Because of these combined practices, Bidwell Park Golf Course annually uses about 20% less water per year.

The purpose of the Drought Response Plan (The Plan) is to forecast and quantify additional water conservation measures to meet the mandatory reductions set by our local water districts.


Section 2   Scope

Approximately 100 acres of this golf course property is irrigated turf.  Annually, Bidwell Park Golf Course analyzes and assesses turfed areas for possible placement/conversion into native conservation areas.  These native conservation areas are set aside where minimal or no inputs are allowed.  

There are two sites on property that are supplied water, The Bidwell Park Golf Course Bar and Grill /Pro Shop and also the Golf Course’s irrigation system.   These systems are supplied water through a single well.  The Bidwell Park Bar and Grill/Pro Shop uses water that has been chlorinated per Butte County Health’s standards for public consumption and the Golf Course’s irrigation system uses non-potable water from that same well.


Section 3   Outreach and Education

Bidwell Park Golf Course strives to be a leader by continually improving water conservation and efficiencies.  As an Empire Golf managed facility we have been implementing conservation measures since 2013, during the introduction of Empire Golf management at our facility.  Empire Golf is a firm believer in providing a quality golf experience while also instilling a program that promotes Best Management Practices at each of its facilities.  Some of the topics that are emphasized by Empire Golf are Water Conservation, Water Quality, Wildlife Management, Chemical Reduction, Education and Outreach. The Plan designates self imposed water restrictions by the use of the following:


  • Implementing Best Management Practices (BMP)
  • Turf acreage reduction
  • Soil management program
  • Reduced irrigated turf acreage
  • Irrigating to Evapotranspiration and the use of a % turfgrass type coefficient
  • Upgrading Irrigation infrastructure (satellite controllers, sprinkler heads, and nozzles)
  • Hand watering
  • Conducting on site water audits
  • Checking the distribution uniformity of the irrigation system
  • Improved pumping efficiencies by pump station maintenance and monitoring



Use of The Plan may be published and adopted for use by other golf courses.  We welcome inquiries from conservation groups, media, and other industries to share and discuss sustainable environmental management practices.  Inquiries should be sent to Sean Ortega, Golf Course Superintendent, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Section 4   Initiation of Drought Stages

 The California Department of Water Resources Control Board is responsible for the initiation and termination of drought response stages based on the triggering criteria set forth in their 2015 Drought Response Plan. 



Section 5   Stages of Drought and Bidwell Park Golf Course Response Measures

Bidwell Park Golf Course continually strives to improve irrigation efficiencies. The Bidwell Park Course Superintendent utilizes technological and mechanical means to improve and monitor irrigation efficiencies.  Even without a drought condition, Bidwell Park Golf Course is maintained with the least amount of irrigation water necessary to strike a balance between providing exceptional course conditions, plant health, and water conservation. 

The following drought response measures are a guide to assist in managing throughout the various stages of drought during the in-season irrigation months of April through October.  These response measures are not exhaustive and not exclusive options for managing the drought response plan.  Because of the varying topography, natural precipitation, and availability of irrigation water, Bidwell Park Golf Course presents these measures as best management practices through the various stages of drought.  There may be instances where more or less restrictive measures may be implemented. 



Stage 1

Use Reduction Target:  10-20% reduction.

Response Measures:

 Finish in-progress construction projects

Discontinue projects or practices requiring seed or sod establishment that are outside of greens, tee, and fairways

Irrigate to 70-80% evapotranspiration (ET) on greens, tees, fairways, and 60-70% on rough

Increase hand watering of hot spots on greens

Raise HOC of rough, fairways, tees, and surrounds as necessary

Discontinue mowing of stressed turf areas

Eliminate mowing whenever possible

Reduce turf acreages by transitioning to native no-mow areas

No herbicide applications after June 1st

Reduce rough watering in low traffic and low impact areas

Equipment  & golf cart washing only in rough areas

Irrigation use recorded daily and reported quarterly


Stage 2

Use Reduction Target:  20-30% reduction


Response Measures:

 Continue all Stage I response measures

Discontinue irrigation of conservation areas; ornamental and landscape

No projects requiring seed or sod establishment

Irrigate to 70-80% ET on greens, tees, fairways, and 40-55% rough

Hand water hot spots on greens, tees, and fairways

Limit Equipment  & golf  cart washing to once per week

Require carts to only drive down middle of marked lane on fairways or on cart path only

Fertilize only on greens, tees, and fairways

Irrigation use recorded daily and reported monthly



Stage 3

Use Reduction Target:  40-50% reduction

Response Measures:

 Continue all Stage I and II measures

Shut off all rough areas

Stop mowing rough

Raise fairway HOC to 3/4”

Raise green HOC to .150 or greater

Spot mow only as necessary

Close cart traffic or carts only on paths and dedicated routes marked down middle of the fairway

Discontinue irrigation on par 3 fairways

Discontinue irrigation of practice areas roughs and nurseries – hand water practice greens

Discontinue fairway irrigation 100 – 150 yards out from tees on par 4 and 5

Fertilize only on greens, tees, and irrigated portions of fairways



Stage 4

Use Reduction Target:  50-80% reduction

Response Measures:

Continue all Stage I, II, and III measures

Hand water greens and surrounds

Discontinue irrigation of all fairways and tees

Golf Carts on path only

Fertilize only on greens

Irrigation use recorded and reported daily



Section 6 Monitoring and Reporting

All reductions will be compared to years 2013 and 2014 water usage.  2015 water usage will be monitored daily and recorded. This data will give a baseline to monitor water reductions compared to previous years.